Expertise and Ulduar

How’s your expertise looking?  Mine’s not what it should be.  There is coming a time, soon, when I will want to make sure I’ve paid some attention to my expertise value.


Expertise 101:

Expertise is different than hit rating.  Increasing hit rating reduces the miss chance.  That is, of course, a Good Thing.    However, hit rating does not affect the chance for you to be dodged or parried.  Those come from expertise.

When fighting a raid boss, he has a base 6.5% chance to dodge and a large chance (greater than 10%, maybe as high as 16%) to parry your attacks.  At face value, that is a huge issue… that’s more than 16-20% of your attacks!  However, we can a large chunk of that out immediately by attacking from behind the boss.  When you are behind the target you cannot be parried, only dodged.  So now only 6.5% of your attacks are subject to this problem.  Whew!

You can further reduce this with expertise.  Note that there is a difference between Expertise and Expertise Rating.

Each point of Expertise reduces the chance to be dodged AND parried by 0.25%.  That means that if you can get 26 points of Expertise, you will reduce the dodge chance to zero.

Expertise is gained from Expertise Rating.  At level 80, every 8.2 Expertise Rating gives you 1 Expertise.  Therefore, if you have 216 points of Expertise Rating, barring other effects from talents and such, you will be at 26 Expertise.   This is made a little more complex by talents.

  • In the Combat tree, the Weapon Expertise talent gives you up to 10 Expertise.  So combat rogues only need an additional 16 Expertise from their rating points.  That’s just 132 expertise rating.
  • Humans get 3 Expertise when using a sword or mace.   So a human Combat spec rogue wielding a sword or mace already has 13 Expertise (from the racial and 2/2 Weapon Expertise) and needs only another 13 from rating points.  That’s just 107 expertise rating.


kologarnSo why is this important now?  Many rogues ignore expertise rating in favor of hit rating.  We’ve been conditioned over the years to think that hit rating is the most important stat, and old habits are hard to break.  Besides, when the base miss chance is 28%, but the base dodge chance is only 6.5% its easy to see why we put more value on hit rating.

An upcoming fight is going to bring this issue to the forefront.  In Ulduar, there is a boss called Kologarn.  Because of the positioning of the fight, and the fact that the boss is the size of a building, melee cannot get behind him.

That means that instead of just the 6.5% dodge chance, we now also have to deal with the parry chance.  If you allow 16-20% of your attacks to be avoided, your dps will suffer greatly.  Expertise reduces both dodge and parry, so you will want to have a gear set with some expertise, even if its just for this fight.  While the expertise cap listed above (26) is reachable, you are not likely to be expertise-capped when standing in front of the boss because the parry chance is too high.  But when you are in front of the boss, expertise > hit rating.  Gem and enchant accordingly.

Good sources of Expertise:

That’s a partial list of the highest expertise items.  For a thorough list, click here to see Wowhead’s item rankings.  Also don’t forget that you can enchant your bracers with +15 expertise rating and your gloves with +15 expertise rating.  I wouldn’t recommend replacing good AP enchants with those unless you were really hurting for expertise.  In addition, gems with the Accurate or Precise cut have +expertise rating.

I have a few of those items in my bank, since I have since replaced them with better items.  I’m glad I didn’t throw them away.  I’ll carry them with me when we start progressing through Ulduar.


6 Responses to “Expertise and Ulduar”

  1. April 29, 2009 at 9:09 am

    About Kologarn – I think that you can actually go behind him. 😉 The bad thing about it is that behind him is a big drop that kills you instantly when you reach the floor. I haven’t tried using Killing Spree on this fight for that reason, but I will try to test it out when we will have some bad attempts at him.

    Kologarn isn’t the only reason for expertise to be important in Ulduar though. Just after him there’s Auriaya, who does a frontal cone Shockwave ability. This damage is spread around everyone affected (similar to Meteors on Four Horsemen), and can easily one-shot anyone. Combine this with an AoE fear and the fact that you need to keep stacked up on the tank to reduce the cat’s Pounces – and you will find yourself in front of her quite a lot of times.

    Fortunately as a Combat it’s not very hard to reach the 26 expertise cap due to our talents, but if you are going with Assassination, getting that 10 more expertise can be nasty.

  2. 2 Braveship
    April 29, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Much appreciation for the discussion on expertise. I will admit to being in the “focus on hit rating” camp, and as my guild has been progressing post-Naxx and more drops are offering expertise and armor penetration, I’ve found myself a bit perplexed as to what items actually constitute “upgrades.” For so long, I’ve been focused on +hit, ATP and crit. Thanks for the primer. ; )

  3. April 29, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    @Saithir – I haven’t done the fight yet. But from the pictures I have seen it sure doesn’t look like you can get behind him. Maybe you can go inside him far enough to be considered behind. I look forward to hearing what you learn.

  4. April 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    You definitely can’t go behind him – Killing Spree just doesn’t do anything (I had to try!).

    With that said, I don’t think it matters, because as far as I know *Kologarn can’t parry*. I’ve been trying to find a source for this, but both the wowhead and wowwiki entries proved unhelpful. However if you look at the wowmeteronline reports for Kologarn:


    Browse a few of the melee and you can see that none of them got a single parry.

    The main trick to this fight from a rogue POV is that you can attack the arms seperately from the body, but the arm hitboxes are in exactly the same place as the main body hitbox. So you need to face the torso while you attack the arms, which a lot of people in my guild found counter-intuitive.


    “Fortunately as a Combat it’s not very hard to reach the 26 expertise cap due to our talents”

    I think you’re getting things mixed up here – you talk about fights where you have to stand in front of the boss (Auriaya) and then mention the expertise cap in the same breath – that cap is for dodge, and is only important when you’re behind a boss. The parry cap is much much higher (as mentioned in the OP, somewhere around 16%) and is not realistic to obtain with the gear in the game.

  5. April 29, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    @Chronic – no parry? Interesting. I’ll have to try and find a source so I can edit (or scrap) this post if necessary.

  6. April 30, 2009 at 10:51 am

    @Chronic – yesterday I died to the arm squeeze before I could use Killing Spree, and the second try we just killed him. Is it just not working at all or out of range or what? Feels kinda strange for KS not to do anything at all.

    And yeah, my fault on the exp cap, sorry ^^

    He might not have a parry mechanic though. Can’t say now since WMO does not really work atm… :s

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